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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Apr 19, 2010 6:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

Here's a little something I brainstormed about a month ago... This really plays into soundboard shit-storm discussions quite well, IMO.

Please share your thoughts, where is the music industry headed?

I've been thinking a lot about the function of music in peoples lives and the record industries attempts to crack down on distribution of media on the internet and the thoughts synthesized into this idea. Just thought I would share it with you all, feel free to comment :)

Because of the internet, acquiring musical recordings has become nearly instantaneous for those with access to a high speed connection, with the same being true for other digitized media types. The internet is a crowning achievement of the Information Age and to resist the changes in culture that go along with its widespread application is like swimming against the current of a river. This change in distribution pathways has in many ways changed the function of music in people’s lives.

Before recording technology existed, music was only heard when it was played live in the home by family members, for the king, or at taverns, in the streets, etc. There was a direct link between the performer and the audience in terms of appreciation and monetary exchange.

As recording and reproduction technology evolved, recorded music became available in the home – accessible with the purchase of the necessary equipment and the records. Over time, the general populations’ access to records increased as the price of technology went down and its qualities improved. Smaller size and increasingly reliable portability have allowed people to take their favorite music with them everywhere they go. As I stated in the beginning, anyone with an internet connection can now download incredible amounts of songs for free. This development along with the increased accessibility to a personal computer has changed the function of a record label, now anyone with a laptop and some equipment has a recording studio AND music can be distributed rapidly to the tune-hungry masses instantaneously. No longer is the recorded music market controlled by a few large companies. There are probably more record labels in existence now than ever in history. The ones that will survive this change are the labels that accept the new paradigm in the music business.

Since music is available for anyone online to a nearly unlimited level, the revenue from sales will inevitably go down. But, as the Grateful Dead proved through their long-lasting popularity and success as a performing and touring band, giving away your music for free can actually have many benefits.

One way this can be done is by making the free recordings of a quality suitable for the smaller home systems. The higher quality and lossless audio files can be made available for purchase for DJs, radio-play, serious music lovers with big systems, etc. This way, anyone can enjoy the music with adequate sound quality recordings, and the very dedicated fans have the option of paying for the best quality recording available. Of course, if you give away a crappy product for free, that won’t really reflect the nature of what you’re ultimately trying to sell and you will fail to earn fans.

In many ways these developments will have democratized the music business. Perhaps in the future the biggest most successful stars will be the ones who can pack the biggest music halls and not the ones who gross the most revenue from album sales!

The most successful musicians will be the ones that can attract people to their live shows, thus creating good competition between venues for sound quality and performers for good live performances. The pop music idolatry may well become a thing of the past and music will be truly judged for how it makes you feel, move, and perhaps even make you smile. Music for music’s sake and for all the wonderful things it brings into our lives.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Apr 20, 2010 7:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

As usual , with any big change , there are ups and downs . Having so much music available, so easily, sometimes leads to a devaluation of music . I have to work at not just running through all the shows I have stacked up ! And multitasking, leads to a lessening of the musical experience . It was inevitable that music would end up as online data, but I sometimes feel that the way it has , was unfortunate . The record companies , failed big time to adapt, and the adaptation of mp3 as a "standard" sent us backwards a big step in the richness of music ( go ask Neil Young ).
One of the problem, of the "new paradigm" , is that the artists who can make a decent living playing live, sold a lot of records ! And it is not like there are plenty of outlets to play live, for newer artists . The problem with the net , is exposure ,; how to get people to hear you . Could go on and on .
We, in the "Dead community", are extremely lucky ! It is not perfect , I would like more download options for SBDs, but the compromise that is, allows for almost unlimited access to AUD in lossless , and the official releases , are generally of high quality . And if one goes to the trouble , you can torrent the complete shows etc.
As for the sound quality issue, the Dead, and the "taper" oriented Deadheads have always pushed the "envelope". Think about this, not only can we get the cds in hight quality remasters ( often HDCD), and Flac files for AUDs, but we see more 24 bit shows here . ( I wonder if they will issue official 24 bit stuff?).
My non Deadhead music buff friends, look to what we have with envy, both for the quantity, and quality of what is available to us . They would LOVE to have a site where you could click on almost every show in their artists history, and hear it or download it ; and, again, in lossless . Even for Classical, the standard is mp3 .
Even with it's warts, in think the Dead's approach has been pretty good in dealing with the "new world ", that is the music biz of today .

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Poster: stealyourwife Date: Apr 19, 2010 9:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

The new technology definitely ups the ante for the music industry. It's gonna force musicians to bring their A-game to the stage. I don't think pop is exempt from this either because shows like American Idol are already weeding out the lip synchers.

Maybe the new model is to not cut a studio album at all, allow tapers and build your popularity based on your live performance.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Apr 19, 2010 6:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

I think most of what you say makes sense and is not unknown to the people in the biz. Bluedevil probably knows more about this than I do, however I received a little insight last year when part of my research was funded by a foundation that receives much of it money through the music industry. When I met with them they were explaining how the profit margins on .mp3 is razor thin and that other than country music, people prefer itunes and selecting songs rather than purchasing albums. So there is no money in CDs. Thus places like Columbia House went out of business and raising money through the sales of special CDs (think Deadicated for the rain forest) is a thing of the past. So the Grateful Dead model may now be the correct one. However they are also doing some strange things which i assume is because they are a niche market. Go to the store at dead.net and the first thing you will find is that many if not most of their releases are only available in CD. I guess if you have a niche market they will be satisfied with whatever medium you decide on, even if you package it in cheesy cardboard. However some albums such as LiveDead and Skull and Roses are available in several formats yet the lossless digital formats (FLAC and ALAC) are priced HIGHER than the CD (e.g. for LiveDead is $6.99 for the CD and $17.99 for FLAC or ALAC). I can't figure out how this makes sense.

The only place I disagree with you is on pop music. As long as it remains a multimedia event (videos, American Idol, The Disney Channel, Facebook etc) pop music will not be held to the same quality musical standards as other genres.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 19, 2010 9:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

I still laugh thinking about how you had to point out the error I was making when scanning the DEAD store and seeing that at first glance, they were showing the various "albums" in diff formats, though I was just seeing the price, and it was sooo sensible to me (recall at that time it seemed material from the latter era was cheapest?).

My density is only exceeded by my persistence.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Apr 20, 2010 5:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

Yes that was very funny.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 20, 2010 7:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

There's one my example of my redundancy: I repeatedly make myself available for humor at my own expense. I should work on that...maybe cutting number of posts by 75% would result in exactly NO loss of information content, but a reduction in laughs on me?

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Apr 20, 2010 7:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

probably not. keep on posting.

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Poster: deadhead53 Date: Apr 20, 2010 6:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

DP you make some great points here about the music business. I have been wondering many times with some of the new Road Trips series (which some are very good) why they are not available on download, most bands today ie: Gov't Mule, The Black Crowes, Moe., make most if not all their stuff ready to download and then they go and put out vinyl for vintage people using turntable. My wish is that the GD may in the futire make these SBD's available on livedownload's and then charge a base price, just my two cents. I think this will be inevitable that GD will do this because I cannot see them making money as the future of this business goes by selling CD's. Who knows?

I think elbow made a great point in the post that the archive is not trading it is taking. There was something cool about trading with someone and having a conversation about the recording and hearing their feedback when they recieved your tape you made for them. I know those days are gone and maybe the archive is the new medium for trading, which is cool because there are is some great stuff on this website. Just my thoughts feel free to comment. Mr. Tell you have some great insights into this forum always good posts from you.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 19, 2010 9:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

Well, of course I have to agree with one of your primary points as it is exactly what I've been babbling on about (repeated of late to everyone's utter boredom no doubt) with respect to the interplay between the community (us), sharing of music (tapes, CDs, SBDs and AUDs), and biz decisions by the makers of the music...My premise has always been that it is beneficial to the band to allow this, even SBDs, because it produces good vibes, and more importantly, more consumers.

Some have suggested that this was true with tapes but not with the massive/quick and easy digital age SBDs. I disagree. In fact, I am confident a number here will support me in this, and thus I am not the only example (ie, tooting my own horn for pats on the back): I have turned on many more in the digital age than back in the tapers era because it IS easier and cheaper...I can hand out CDs like candy at virtually no cost (time/money).

Making tapes was a far more time consuming biz back in the day. Suffice it to say, I have easily given out more DEAD in the past six months than I did in my eight years of "prime" tape exchange activity to folks that represent new/potential consumers.

Two cases will suffice: A "CLIFFSTER's Boxed Set" (anyone remember those?) was enough of a primer to get one friend to buy the Fillmore shows (albeit the smaller one since the big one was no longer available), and my collection of late 71 shows for a relative was enough to get them to make their first DEAD purchase in many yrs (the RTs, summer one of 71). Both individuals made clear they wanted the "stuff" that comes with buying something real, rather than my little sharpie abused CDs...anyhow, I am sure many of you have similar stories, and some have even been posted here by Mando, JOTS, etc., etc.

Thus, I have always maintained it is very possible that it is good biz practice to share all of this stuff, and pulling the SBDs (though completely within their rights, again, personally, I have NEVER complained or said it was "wrong", signed any petitions, blah, blah...) was, IMHO, simply a bad move purely on that level (while acknowledging we still don't have all the facts to properly evaluate the biz outcomes; we will need a meta-analysis, controlling for a multitude of factors, by some young Turk like you, DP, doing their thesis on many bands taking alt approaches, with access to the bottom line profit wise, to sort this stuff out down the road...and, the DEAD, as idiosyncratic as they are, may just not be amenable to this analysis without lots of simplifying assumptions, etc., but the general hypothesis could be tested).

Keep up the good work, kid.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Apr 20, 2010 5:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

I feel like I have said this a few times here but its not like you haven't repeated yourself once or twice right? I don't think anyone could disagree with you about how sharing music whether its tapes or CDs as you now apparently hand out like candy, is bad for the business. However that is a completely separate issue from why the soundboards were pulled from this place. This place is NOT about sharing from individual to individual or within a defined tree, vine or swarm. This place is about taking. We share our thoughts and love of the music through this forum but we do not nor did we ever actually SHARE the music itself. We take it. I don't see how this could be good for business and provide an example below.

When I first found this place I was still doing some shopping for commercial releases at the itunes music store (i no longer do this unless purchasing for the kids). If you go and read the reviews for the digital download series there, the comments were often like this, "don't bother buying this here, you can download it for free at archive.org." Now that was before the Rhino deal so if you were Rhino and you found out that the reviews for the archive that you just purchased the rights to were telling people where to download the currently released as well as potential future releases for free, wouldn't you be concerned? I have purchased and downloaded enough shows to say that the the quality that folks like Charlie Miller provide us with is often so good that the commercial releases are not such a tremendous upgrade that it would make people want to go out an purchase what they already have. Auds on the other hand do that.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 20, 2010 7:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

Well, but I guess my point was--that IS what I am doing...I am much more inclined to share a SBD I pulled from here than an AUD...so, though you are right that in fact I got my SBDs other ways, if it were 05, and I didn't know you all, that's probably what I'd be doing?

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Apr 20, 2010 7:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

You might be the exception....dare i say exceptional? Back in '05 the way i found this place was that someone didn't burn me a disc, they sent me the link and that was a reasonable way to share the information: providing a link to the site or a show within the site just like what people were doing at itunes. I think one of the big differences is that you are sharing by CD and while that is a digital form of music it is very different than what people do with blogs or what people did here. I too have shared via the CD although mostly with people I met here because they didn't have a show or access to it. If I were trying to turn someone on to the music I would still give them a link to this place or to some shows here and tell them to stream the stuff. If they want to have a copy, I would make them one or tell them other ways to obtain it (bt sites).

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 20, 2010 9:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

Ah--yeah, big "duh" on my part...it's my age group, friends...they are about as inexperienced with the web as I, so it works...your point is, "eliminate the middle man (me), and go right to the site, and DL YOUR own".

That's what most folks, certainly the younger would do, right? And then, sharing could fall to the way side.

Another factor to factor in the meta-analysis, but my stand is eroding.

Jokes anyone?

Now, about being Prime Minister, just let the others know if it's time for that particular sillyness to stop. Me, I do admit I've now gotten used to it, but I do spend alot of time explaining myself, and the fact that it is nothing but a "figurehead" term at best (I think newbies imagine I have some power; as you noted, the day they took down 9-19-70 was the day that question was answered!).

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Apr 20, 2010 10:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

stop the silliness? Why? It's part of the charm of the place don't you think? I also think that people who plan on sticking around to be part of the community catch on pretty quickly that your title is one bestowed upon you by the participants here out of our fondness for you (even if wolfboy started it) and not one of real power. I think I have spent 3 days disagreeing with you on a single subject and there has not been a single consequence of my actions. Um, gotta run, there appear to be armed guards gathering outside my office.

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Poster: Skippy61 Date: Apr 19, 2010 6:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

well all i can say is WOW. what a fantastic post, i too have often wondered what will happen with recording and labels and such. The music industry has not collapsed yet, remember back in the Netscape scare. "the industry will be gone... blah blah blah" and yet it is still here. Different but still here, the Dead were ahead of their time and there is still a market for their recordings and merchandise and such.

What a great post , i hope this discussion goes on!

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Apr 20, 2010 6:15am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

This really isn’t a direct answer to your post, but I just have to throw my two cents in that I really don't understand why there's still a "shit storm" over the SBD issue. They pulled the boards here, what, 4 or 5 years ago? It's over. The decision was made, and it's history. Who cares? There’s so much free GD out there already that it’s mind boggling. As someone who started out copying one TDK at a time, in real time, almost 30 years ago I think far too much had been made over this whole “should SBD downloads be free” topic.

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Apr 20, 2010 10:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

How about the guy who recently lost Apple's new secret iPhone in a bar in Silicon Valley? The story says, a talanted Apple s/w eng goes to a bar in Redwood City to celebrate his 27th b'day. His secret iPhone gets "lost" there, after a few beers.

The iPhone finder-dude sold it to Gizmodo a couple of weeks later for $5000. Gizmodo just published an article about the secret iPhone. Their blog and website hit-count skyrockets overnight, getting some 1 million hits.

Late Monday night, Gizmodo said that it received a letter from Bruce Sewell, Apple’s senior VP and general counsel, requesting the phone back. "It has come to our attention that Gizmodo is currently in possession of a device that belongs to Apple," Mr. Sewell wrote in a letter that Gizmodo published. Is it a PR stunt? Gizmodo argues not, and claims Apple is among the most secretive developers out there.

Did Jerry, Bob, Phil, Billy or Bear ever get loaded somewhere, and drop a secret cassette tape by accident? What if it was the 1st recording of Eyes of The World, for example?

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Apr 21, 2010 4:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Music and The Age of Information - where are we headed?

My friend's dad's friend was obsessed with John Lennon and used to dumpster dive outside his NYC apartment... I heard a tape that he found in that dumpster with some practice/alternate take recordings of songs... can't remember right now which ones they were... but I sure did feel pretty special to be hearing them :)